Supernova Planetarium and Visitor Centre opened with ZEISS Technology

This impressive evening view of the "Supernova" was taken a few days before the opening and shows a meeting of Venus and the narrow crescent moon in the background. Photo credit: ESO/P. Horálek

April 2018

ESO Supernova Planetarium and Visitor Centre opened with ZEISS technology

ZEISS VELVET projectors provide highest contrast images


The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre is a newly built astronomical centre directly next to the headquarters of the European Southern Observatory in Garching near Munich. It opened its doors to the public on 28 April 2018.

The heart of the ESO Supernova is the planetarium with VELVET projection technology and various three-dimensional astronomical databases for simulation of the night sky and cosmic space. The 14 m projection dome is inclined by 25 degrees and thus offers a good view of the projections from all seats.

The design of the building resembles a double star system in which mass is transferred from one star to the other until it explodes into a supernova. The building was donated by the Klaus Tschira Foundation (KTS). The foundation supports natural sciences, mathematics and computer science. The facility is operated by ESO.

A ramp leads visitors from the entrance area upwards through an exciting exhibition. It introduces the science and technology of modern astronomy and explains our place in the universe. The exhibition is designed with fascinating and interactive components. 

The planetarium dome of the ESO Supernova

The interior of the ESO supernova planetarium with the tilted dome and VELVET projection. Photo credit: ESO/P. Horálek

A new Planetarium for Germany

With 109 seats and 14 m dome diameter, the planetarium is of medium size. The special feature here is the relatively large tilt of 25 degrees for a comfortable view. Five VELVET projectors at the lower edge of the dome produce a high-contrast, bright image. In addition to the ZEISS powerdome system, the Supernova Planetarium also works with other platforms for the visualization of the dome. Admission is free for 2018.